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Bulldogs are goofy-looking dogs with wrinkled skin and massive bodies. They are bundles of joy for their owners who most likely want to feed them the right kind of food that’s healthy and nutritious. At first, bulldogs were used for awful purposes but, fortunately, those were all outlawed.
An adult bulldog is medium-sized and is characterized by a weight that averages between 40 and 50 pounds. Unfortunately, bulldogs can suffer from numerous health conditions, especially if they aren’t taken care of. For that reason, it is crucial to provide your bulldog with high-quality food and maintain a balanced diet.
Before purchasing the best food brands you can afford, you must first understand all your pet’s dietary requirements.
Finding the Best Food for Your Bulldog – Dietary Needs
For any dog, the most important nutrient in its meal is protein. Massive breeds such as bulldogs require protein even more. When the dog is just a puppy, it needs protein to build healthy strong muscle mass. Then, as an adult dog, it can maintain lean muscle mass.
After protein, fat is the second most important energy source for all dog breeds but be careful how much you give to your bulldog because it might lead to overgrowth and even obesity. Finally, let’s not forget about carbs because they are a source of essential nutrients, fiber, and energy.
If your puppy is allergic, you should opt for a grain-free diet but only after you discuss it with the dog’s vet. Here’s how a proper diet should look like based on your bulldog’s age:
- Puppies – bulldog puppies need to consume at least 22% protein to properly fuel their bodies. For development and growth purposes, they also need around 8% fat. There are dog food formulas specially created to meet all those needs;
- Adult bulldogs – once your dog is one year old, you must feed it a formula that’s meant for adult dogs. These recipes should contain at least 18% protein and around 5% fat. Low to moderate amounts of fat are recommended during this growth period;
- Senior bulldogs – as they get older, bulldogs have a higher risk of obesity. Therefore, the owners must switch to a new diet, one that’s low in fat.
Besides fat, carbs, and protein your pet will also benefit from other supplements like prebiotics and chelated minerals. The first ones support healthy and balanced gut flora. The second supplement will strengthen your bulldog’s joints and bones. Make sure to also include probiotics which will regulate the dog’s digestion.
Potential Health Issue to Consider and Their Special Dietary Requirements
Bulldogs are cute medium-sized dogs that live 8 to 10 years, on average. Compared to other dogs of the same or similar size, a bulldog’s lifespan is pretty short. This is caused by numerous health problems that might affect this particular dog breed.
Bulldogs could be prone to the following health conditions:
- Hip dysplasia;
- Brachycephalic syndrome;
- Gastric torsion;
- Reverse sneezing;
- Cherry eye;
- Patellar luxation;
- Demodectic mange;
- Skinfold dermatitis.
Most of these diseases can be grouped into two categories: problems that affect the eyes and those that impact the dog’s musculoskeletal system. Conditions such as dry eye, cherry eye, or entropion are frequently met in bulldogs.
Problems that negatively influence the skeleton or the muscles are also very common. The reason behind this is the way the bulldog’s body is structured. These dogs are pretty compressed bodies and they carry significant mass or weight. Because of this, senior bulldogs could also suffer from arthritis.
Allergies and Obesity
In addition to all those nasty things that can happen that I’ve listed above, as a bulldog owner, you should also try to avoid obesity or allergies. It’s true, however, that, in some cases, allergies cannot be avoided because the puppy is born that way.
Owners should do their best in helping the dog maintain normal body weight. Bulldogs are also prone to bloating and food allergies. These dogs could develop almost any type of food allergy, especially to grains such as corn and wheat.
Picking the Right Food for Your Bulldog Puppy
Bulldogs have short muzzles which can make the processes of picking up food and chewing it a bit challenging. Most bulldogs will also have issues when it comes to swallowing the food and breathing at the same time. Finally, a puppy’s teeth are quite crowded in their little mouths so this is an issue that leads to other chewing-related problems.
So, pay attention as much as possible to how your dog eats and how easy it swallows the food or if it has any problems breathing properly during feeding time.
One way to check if your pet isn’t overweight is to touch its waist and, if you can still feel the dog’s spine, then your bulldog has a proper weight. If the dog is eating too much or if it is already obese, you should immediately reduce the food portions.
Either way, it is always wise and safe to discuss any concerns you may have with an expert or your local vet. What you must always remember is the fact that bulldogs shouldn’t be overweight despite their bulky structure.
How Often Should You Feed Your Bulldog?
During the first few months of a bulldog’s life, it should receive at least three meals per day. Puppies need more food for balanced development. Once the puppy is one year old, you can stick to only two meals per day.
Besides traditional meals, many bulldogs will also receive treats, especially during training programs.
What Shapes and Size Should the Food Be?
When purchasing bulldog food, you should opt for shapes such as triangular, round, and other unconventional kibble shapes because they are easier to pick up by your dog. At the same time, try to avoid buying kibble bits that are square-shaped.
If you notice that your puppy struggles with its food, perhaps you should try to combine wet food with dry kibble. That could work!
What Can Bulldogs Eat?
Theoretically, bulldogs are able to digest any commercial blend or homemade food, as long as it is well designed and contains healthy nutrients. If you choose to purchase food for your dog, here are the elements that it needs to contain:
- Proteins – high-quality animal protein; stick to the right portion; for instance, a bulldog that weighs 50 lbs. should consume around 110 grams of protein;
- Minerals – while most formulas focus mainly on calcium, bulldogs, especially puppies, also need iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and more;
- Carbohydrates – some seem to believe that carbs might affect a dog’s health but it’s not entirely true; these nutrients are important and they work as the fuel that provides energy to your dog’s body;
- Fat – fat is important if you want your puppy to have a healthy coat and skin. It also gives your dog the energy it needs while regulating its body temperature at the same time;
- Vitamins – just like minerals, vitamins represent another important nutrient that should be part of any dog’s nutrition. So, pick a dog food formula that contains a wide variety of vitamins because they prevent blood clots, work as antioxidants, and support your puppy’s immunity;
- Water – most people don’t consider water to be a real nutrient but it is. Up to 80% of the body mass of any bulldog is made of water so, it is crucial for your pet’s health. Water regulates body temperature and transports nutrients to all the organs.
Now, let’s take a closer and more detailed look at how many times per day a bulldog should eat, based on its age.
How Many Meals to Give Your Dog Based on Its Age
Adult dogs should eat two smaller portions every day while puppies should eat three of those meals. Never give your pet less than two portions a day because one single and larger meal could lead to serious bloating issues.
- From 8 weeks to 3 months old – a puppy this small should eat 4 small meals every day;
- From 3 months up to 6 months old – you should provide your dog with 3 small portions per day;
- Once it is 6 months old up until one year old – two medium-sized portions per day will suffice;
- One year onward – ideally, you should feed your bulldog two meals per day.
The Best Food Brands for Your Bulldog
Now that you know more about what your bulldog needs and the types of food it should consume, it’s time to find out some of the best dog food brands that are good for all bulldogs, regardless of their age.
1. Ollie Fresh Pet Food
This turkey-based dog food recipe contains turkey breast and liver as well as lentils, carrots, and other nutritious ingredients. According to the manufacturer, all their products are made from natural ingredients without sacrificing flavor and taste.
Ollie Fresh human-grade pet food doesn’t contain grains. The company is willing to personalize their products based on the information you provide them with regarding your dog’s age and activity level. All these formulas are made in the United States.
- Each formula is backed by science and verified by a vet;
- All the ingredients are fresh and natural;
- It seems that these pet food products might improve your dog’s oral health;
- Ollie Fresh recipes meet all the nutritional standards required by the AAFCO;
- The recipes are custom-made to suit your bulldog’s needs.
- This dog food is a tad on the pricey side;
- Being fresh, this pet food features a shorter shelf life, especially when you compare it with canned goods or kibbles.
2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dog Food
The most important ingredients of this Blue Buffalo dog recipe are deboned chicken, brown rice, pea fiber, chicken meal, and barely. This recipe is carefully designed so that it won’t make your bulldog gain too much weight. It is also rich in both minerals and vitamins.
This dry food for bulldogs is suitable for adult pups and it works great for those pets that need to lose some of their extra weight. It contains a lot of plentiful ingredients and fiber which leads to improved digestion. The recipe lacks any potentially-allergenic elements such as soy, corn, or wheat.
- It is said to promote a healthy coat, fur, and skin;
- Contains L-carnitine which improves a healthy metabolism;
- It has glucosamine which is a compound that’s beneficial for joint health;
- The only fat and protein source of this recipe is chicken.
- Some bulldogs might like kibbles more than other types of dog food.
3. Wellness Simple Limited Bulldog Food
Wellness Simple Ltd. is a natural recipe for dogs that has a limited number of nutritious ingredients like peas, lamb, ground rice, and oatmeal. It contains special carbs that are easy to digest and it lacks any harmful additives or fillers.
It is the perfect product for extremely sensitive bulldogs because it is both poultry-free and gluten-free. This dry dog food will certainly nourish your bulldog’s body and offer it all the essential nutrients it needs to have a healthy and long life. The protein comes from reputable sources and it focuses only on lamb meat.
- With this product, your dog will benefit from a natural diet;
- It is free of wheat and gluten;
- The lamb protein is a high-quality one;
- It contains both prebiotics and probiotics.
- It contains peas which for some pups could be an allergenic compound;
- It might get dusty or messy because of the crumbs.
4. Evanger’s Grain-Free Chicken Recipe
The Evanger’s dog food contains sweet potatoes, deboned chicken, fish meals, chicken meal, and chicken fat. These ingredients are then combined with other important nutrients such as fruits, minerals, vitamins, and veggies.
This product contains 16% crude fat as well as 33% crude protein. Its probiotics will help your dog’s digestion while the formula’s chelated minerals are great for optimal nutrient uptake.
- This grain-free dog food recipe is rich in protein sourced from fresh chicken;
- It contains all the nutrients your bulldog needs for proper development;
- There aren’t any harmful ingredients such as soy, wheat, or artificial flavors.
- There are other more flavorful formulas out there so, if your dog is a picky eater, it might reject this product.
5. Purina Beyond Wild Dog Food
This is one of my personal favorite foods for bulldogs due to its wide range of healthy ingredients. It is made of chicken meal, pea starch, turkey, whole lentils, and pea protein. The protein comes from farm-raised turkey. It is a grain-free formula.
Aside from being nutritious, Purina Beyond Wild is also tasty and has a pleasant flavor. It also contains glucosamine which is essential for your pet’s joint health. This product is rich in protein but free from allergens and that represents a great advantage.
- The main ingredient is protein sourced from farm-raised turkey;
- This grain-free dog food meets the highest standards of quality;
- The element of surprise comes from one of the product’s ingredients: freeze-dried chicken bites.
- The bags are a tad small;
- Some dog owners say that this recipe should contain more turkey pieces.
Answer: There are many foods that provide many benefits to your bulldog’s health. Still, some of them could also have certain risks. Here are the things a bulldog can eat:
Bananas – your dog will love the sweet taste of bananas. These fruits might prevent gastrointestinal problems but don’t give your dog too much of them because they contain a lot of sugar;
Chicken – chicken represents a great and tasty treat for bulldogs due to its protein and Omega-6 fatty acid content. Remove all the bones before giving it to your dog;
Grains – whole grains are great for bulldogs due to their rich vitamin and mineral content. They’re an excellent fiber source. Some puppies, though, might develop allergies to these foods;
Eggs – this is another amazing and nutritious snack that’s rich in high-quality protein. Eggs promote strong bones and healthy skin in dogs;
Carrots – bulldogs love carrots because they are a crunchy and sweet treat. Besides being a great fiber source and improving vision, carrots also work as a laxative;
Berries – fruits like blueberries and strawberries are great for bulldogs due to their strong antioxidant properties. Only give them in raw form and pay attention to how your dog eats them because smaller berries could be a choking hazard;
Cheese and yogurt – cheese is a very good treat but you shouldn’t give your dog too much. Moderation is key! It’s rich in calcium but it can also upset the dog’s stomach. Dogs who aren’t allergic to it will simply love yogurt but make sure to give them simple yogurt that’s part of the whole dairy category;
Nuts – this is a bit of a controversy. Some nut types are perfectly safe and good for bulldogs such as hazelnuts, peanuts, and almonds. Other nuts like pistachios, macadamia nuts, and cashews are toxic for pets.
Answer: As you can see, most foods come with their own benefits and potential risks, but the following list contains all the things you should never give your bulldog because they can make your dog very sick or even kill it:
Grapes and raisins – one or two of these fruits won’t do much harm but too many of them are very toxic and they can kill your dog. Some of the consequences of grape poisoning are diarrhea, dehydration, vomiting, loss of appetite, seizures, coma, and death;
Tea and coffee – consuming these two drinks could lead to caffeine toxicity that has the following symptoms: hyperactivity, vomiting, elevated heart rate, seizures, and more;
Milk and ice cream – for other dog breeds, milk isn’t toxic but it should be avoided from a bulldog’s diet because many bulldogs suffer from lactose intolerance. Certain ice cream ingredients like xylitol are also bad for your pet. A lactose-intolerant dog will experience bloating, vomiting, severe gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain;
Pork – you can include cooked pork in your bulldog’s meals because it’s safe for them. However, you should always remove cooked bones because they are dangerous for your dog’s health. Uncooked meat can lead to an infection that’s called trichinosis that manifests itself through fever, stiffness, lethargy, and some other symptoms;
Tomatoes – most people say that ripe tomatoes are good for your dog while unripe tomatoes could be dangerous for its health. Tomatine toxicity has symptoms like vomiting, muscle weakness, diarrhea, loss of coordination, and even seizures.
All the foods listed above should never ever be given to your bulldog.
Answer: People always associate the image of a dog with a bone for it to chew on. But, let me tell you something: not all kinds of bones are good for your bulldog. The best types are raw bones. You should avoid feeding it cooked bones.
While your dog eats a raw bone, you should pay attention to it and, as soon as you notice splinters, remove the bone from your dog’s mouth and provide it with a new bone. There are two types of bones that you can give to your pet:
Edible bones – these are soft and pliable sourced from turkeys and chickens;
Recreational bones – these are great for your dog’s mental stimulation. Femurs, knuckles, and hips are good recreational bones.
Here’s a list of the bones you should avoid:
Cooked bones – because they are softer, cooked bones will splinter quicker and they are dangerous to your dog’s gums and teeth;
Marrow bones – they are too hard and your dog might break a tooth while chewing on them;
Rawhide – it is full of harmful chemicals and it’s hard to digest.
How to Find the Best Bulldog Food – Drawing to a Close
So, now you know everything that you should know about the right kind of food that you should feed your bulldog with. I decided to include some important nutritional needs that this dog breed has to help you make a well-informed purchasing decision and opt only for the best brands and formulas you can afford.
Remember that, just like humans, dogs also need a diverse and nutritious diet that’s rich in high-quality protein, minerals, and vitamins but also moderate amounts of both fat and carbs.
If you still don’t know exactly what product to buy, you can always find inspiration in the list I’ve provided above in which I’ve included both wet and dry options.